Town drops gun ban implemented as Hurricane Florence approaches

A North Carolina town quickly rescinded their local restrictions on firearms announced earlier this week as a state of emergency was declared for the area.

The coastal town of Leland, in the path of oncoming Hurricane Florence, on Monday morning issued a series of emergency orders and evacuations that included a prohibition on the “transportation or possession, or the sale or purchase of any dangerous weapon or substance, while off one’s own premises.” This drew an immediate backlash on social media and warnings from a gun rights group to town leaders that they had gone too far.

On Tuesday, the Firearms Policy Coalition sent the city a pre-litigation demand letter saying that the order was unconstitutional, as it ruled out lawful purposes for gun possession such as self-defense, and set “the stage for arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement since those enforcing the prohibition could apply various and conflicting interpretations.”

Further, the group had a legal precedent to fall back on. In 2012, a federal court sided with local and national Second Amendment advocates who challenged the North Carolina statutes restricting firearms during times of emergency. The state’s Emergency Management Act was amended to reflect the decision.

By late Tuesday, Leland officials had updated the emergency orders to note that, “This prohibition and restriction does not apply to lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition.”

Those in North Carolina can find out more about the ongoing preparations for Hurricane Florence here and track the storm’s progress and issued warnings through the National Hurricane Center.

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